5 Tips For a Healthier Holiday Season

Health Tips, Lifestyle

How can you navigate the indulgent holiday food spread without overdoing it? If you think the answer is, “you can’t,” think again.

While the holidays may be notorious for rich, indulgent dishes, and overeating in general, it’s easier than you think to make healthier choices while still enjoying traditional, delicious dishes from Thanksgiving to New Years.

To get started, all you need is a few savvy tips and a commitment to stick to your goals.

1) Don’t skip meals or ‘save calories’ for a holiday meal

This sets you up to be overly hungry when the meal begins and can cause overeating. Skipping meals and overeating when you do eat is also bad for metabolism, which operates better when it has a consistent supply of food. So go ahead and eat that hearty breakfast! By the time the “feast” comes around, you won’t be starving and forced to overindulge.

 

2) Honor your fullness

During this time of year, it’s easy to fill our plates with all of the delicious holiday and seasonal foods. However, overeating can leave you sluggish and sick. Eating past fullness isn’t honoring your body signals. Remember, you can always come back for seconds. If you realize 20 minutes later you’re still hungry, (which you may not be after you truly tune in to your body and evaluate how full you are), then go ahead, grab another bite!

 

3) Avoid sugary holiday drinks and sweets, or make your own version!

Desserts tend to be loaded with tons of refined sugar and flour. It’s SO easy to replace these ingredients with heartier alternatives that won’t spike your blood sugar. Making simple swaps like using coconut sugar or maple syrup instead of white and brown sugar, almond flour instead of white flour, using LESS sugar than called for. It still tasted delicious.
Similarly, drinks like peppermint mochas, eggnog, gingerbread lattes, etc. are typically packed with added sugar. Instead, opt for a healthier alternative like this healthier vegan eggnog.

 

4) Make mashed potatoes healthier

Mashed potatoes are a staple at many holiday meals. Instead of feeling the need to avoid them, try these tips to amp up the nutrition! Halve the amount of butter and add in plain Greek yogurt. This will make them creamy while adding protein and cutting back on the fat. Keep skins on half of the potatoes to provide extra fiber and texture. In lieu of adding more salt to your recipe, try adding garlic (fresh or powder), or other herbs or spices that you like.

5) Do some gentle movement after that decadent meal 

Skip slumping on the couch watching football or a holiday movie at least for a half-hour or so until you get some movement in. One of the worst things you can do after a big feast is to sit on the couch or be sedentary. Exercise, even just light walking will help get the sugar and calories that were just consumed into the bloodstream to be used for fuel rather than stored as fat. Try going on a walk, or even taking a few flights of stairs in your home to get the body much-needed movement! This will help with digestion, sleep AND mood.